BU EdTech Zoom

Zoom Update: Automated Live Captioning

Automatic, live, AI transcription is currently available on Zoom for no extra cost. This is useful for meeting participants who may be in loud environments, who may not have headphones, or who merely want to listen and read along at the same time. 

Live captions must be enabled by the host prior to the start of the meeting. To do so, log-in to https://bostonu.zoom.us with your BU credentials, navigate to “Settings” > “In Meeting (Advanced)” > “Closed Captioning”. Closed Captioning must be turned on, and you must select the “Enable live transcription service to show transcript on the side panel in-meeting,” then click save. This will apply to all future meetings, not meetings currently in progress. 

In order for participants to view or save a transcript during a meeting, the host must start it. During the meeting, the host will see the “Live Transcription” option on their Zoom toolbar (in may be an item within the “More” button depending on your window size). To start an automatic, live transcription, the host merely needs to click “Live Transcription” then select “Enable Automatic Transcription.” Any conversation prior to enabling this feature will not be transcribed. 

Once started, participants will see a “Live Transcript” option appear on their Zoom toolbar. Participants will be able to select from three options: 

  • Show Subtitle: Allows participants to view the transcript as scrolling captions within the main meeting window. These will not include speaker attribution. 
  • View Full Transcript: This displays a full, scrollable, transcript with speaker attribution on the side of the meeting window. Both subtitles and the full transcript may be viewed at the same time.
  • Subtitle Settings: Adjust closed captioning font size and other accessibility options.

Live transcripts will not automatically save with local or cloud recordings. Cloud recordings will still generate a transcript as usual. Live transcripts are currently not available in Breakout Rooms. 

For a more detailed, step-by-step guide on enabling and using AI captioning in Zoom, please consult this guide.

Note on Accessibility: Automatic Zoom captions are a great tool. However, meetings, classes, or webinars that include one or more individuals with documented reasonable accommodations by the BU Office of Disability & Access Services that require closed captioning, must include a live captioner or other accommodation as documented. Please note that live professional captioning is necessary for those purposes.

Learn more about Digital Learning & Innovation or email AskEdTech@bu.edu with questions or to schedule a consultation.


David DeCampAbout the Author: Dave is an Educational Technologist. In this role, he advises and assists faculty on a variety of platforms for classroom use, with a focus on Turnitin Feedback Studio, BU Learning Blocks (BULB), Open Educational Resources, Google Suite for Education, MediaKron, and more.